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As companies adapt to their post-pandemic environment, it is clear remote working will continue long-term long after Covid-19 lockdowns made it necessary. One of the most important things a company can do for its employees is to give them the tools they need to succeed.
One of the concerns for companies is how to effectively manage a remote workforce. Microsoft 365 is coming to the fore as the most efficient way to manage employees in a full or part-time remote work model. It is a cloud-based suite of business products that offers the ability to manage a remote workforce from anywhere, giving you peace of mind, and helping you stay productive in any situation
Remote work has many advantages, but it also presents new challenges. With Microsoft 365, these challenges are easily met and mitigated.
Microsoft 365 overview
Microsoft 365 is an ideal product for managing remote workforces as it fosters an environment that fosters teamwork, which can lead to increased productivity. This flexible tool offers the necessary support when people are working together remotely
It offers a variety of ways to manage your employees, such as productivity tools including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive (cloud-based storage); communication tools such as Teams, and SharePoint to host company intranet.
These tools support your remote team to stay productive no matter where they are located or what time it is. The interface is both familiar and intuitive, which makes the tools and apps easy to use and monitor, and offers managers access to tools like security settings.
How to manage your remote workers with Microsoft 365
The first step towards managing your remote employees is by bringing them together into a shared space. This means sharing documents, exchanging ideas and managing tasks. As a manager, you have access to time tracking, task management, and more. You also have access to team collaboration features like shared calendars and email.
Microsoft 365 offers features such as screen sharing for remote meetings, which can be difficult without the right software. Additionally, Microsoft 365 has tools that help your employees stay on top of their work schedules, such as location-aware notifications and office hours reminders.
Communication is vital to ensure your team can carry out their tasks and progress with projects. Microsoft Teams offers the ability to have productive meetings or chats through video, instant messages, and online whiteboarding, so it’s easy to get things done in real-time, no matter where employees and managers are working.
Managers can gather their remote employees in individual or group meetings, creating a complete workspace in the cloud with Teams tabs for files, apps, and services. When face to face isn’t possible, the video meeting feature of Teams is ideal, bringing a human connection to the remote workplace.
Changes being made to documents are always tracked, making it possible for managers to keep an eye on any changes being made.
When some or all members of a team work remotely, it can be daunting for managers to envisage how to ensure everyone can refer to the same information for projects or tasks. With SharePoint, managers can create a collaborative hub for remote workforces, making an intranet website for each team. Once set up, project managers can run projects, update tasks, and embed calendars for tracking and deadlines.
SharePoint also provides the ability to manage and customise permissions for each document upload based on how you choose to organise the content.
Employee engagement can be a concern when you are managing a team who work from home or are not in a traditional office space. Teams working in different time zones can be another challenge that managers need to work around when managing projects. Microsoft has designed Microsoft 365 to make it easy to plan all your tasks, with Planner.
This is a teamwork tool designed for managers. It allows you to schedule and divide tasks fairly, as well as monitor progress on projects. Planner helps by showing users what the team is working on, follows tasks to completion, and integrates with Teams and SharePoint to offer even more usability.
Every employee feels differently about remote work. Some people like working remotely because it helps them be more productive and avoid distractions. Others feel isolated and miss the human contact with their colleagues.
As the future of work is remote for many employees, businesses are creating policies and protocols to mitigate any sense of isolation and to promote productivity. Managers can utilise the tools in Microsoft 365 to actively engage with remote employees, by creating specific meetings that discuss projects, connect teams with new information, or plan the week ahead. It can be a recurring reminder set in Teams Calendar that reminds team members to grab their morning coffee before a weekly standup meeting, or allocating time in your schedule for employees to reach out if they have any concerns to discuss.
Managing remote workers can be a challenge, but Microsoft 365 has the solution. This suite of cloud-based applications helps you manage your workforce and their work from anywhere. Talk to the Microsoft-certified consultants at INTELLIWORX about how Microsoft 365 Business can help manage your remote workforce and give your company the flexibility it needs to grow.